Midsummer Fruit Tart

Make Julia Child's fruit tart when berries are at their most fragrant and a bite of summer's sweet bounty is just what you want at the end of a meal.

1 9-inch tart

Celebrate summer fruit at its best with this fruit tart. The base for the tart consists of a cleverly constructed free-form crust made from a rich cookie-like dough baked with a thin layer of cheesecake filling. When Julia Child created this recipe, many home cooks owned a quiche ring, a metal band designed to help a free-form dough hold its shape. They have gone out of fashion, so Julia Child's former assistant Stephanie Hersh created this solution using a band of aluminum foil. It may seem a little fussy but works admirably. You can use any fruit on this tart as long as it is ripe and in season.


Pastry dough

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1/2 cup cake flour, sifted

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, quartered lengthwise and crosswise

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 5 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cheesecake filling

  • 4 ounces whipped cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, sifted

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Fruit glaze and topping

  • 1 cup apricot jam

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 3 tablespoons white rum, Cognac or orange liqueur (optional)

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise

  • 3 kiwis, peeled and sliced

  • 1/2 cup raspberries

  • 1/2 cup blackberries


Make the tart shell

  1. Place all-purpose flour, cake flour, butter and salt into bowl of a food processor and process for about 30 seconds, until blended thoroughly. Add sugar, shortening, egg and vanilla; process just until dough forms mass. On a lightly floured work surface, press dough into a disk 1 inch thick, sprinkling a little flour on top if dough is sticky. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

  2. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and hit with side of your rolling pin, rotating dough frequently as you gradually form a circular shape. When dough has softened, roll it out into a roughly circular shape 3/16 inch thick; patch dough in places as necessary. Trim dough into a 12-inch round (save leftover scraps to freeze for your next tart, or bake separately). Slide dough onto a baking sheet lined with an 18-inch square of heavy-duty foil and freeze 5 minutes.

  3. Roll edge of dough up over itself to make a 3/4-inch border. Then, roll border over onto itself, making an upstanding edge. With lightly floured fingers, pinch thick, raised edge to form a rim 3/4 inch tall and 3/16 inch thick. Make height even all around, since filling will leak out at any low spots. Press outside with rim with the tines of a table fork held vertically while supporting dough on the inside with your fingers. Trim off any extra foil, cover tart shell and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

Make filling

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a handheld mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, then cream in butter. Slowly beat in cornstarch, then sugar, sour cream, egg, and vanilla.

Bake and finish tart

  1. Prepare a folded strip of foil 1 inch wide and long enough to surround tart shell with an inch overhang. Butter foil and attach buttered side closely around tart, pinning foil ends together. Pour in cream cheese filling. Bake tart on lower shelf of oven until shell is lightly browned and crisp, about 20 minutes. Filling will puff up to the top of shell. Transfer shell to a cooling rack; filling will sink as it cools. Let shell cool thoroughly to set crust before finishing tart.

  2. Slide tart shell onto a serving platter and remove foil. Push apricot jam through a sieve into a medium saucepan, stir in sugar and rum and simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes. Brush a thin layer of glaze inside tart shell. Arrange strawberries in a circle around inside edge of tart. Overlap kiwis inside and mound berries in center. Brush warm glaze over fruit and serve.

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